Restorative practices in schools and communities
….A growing international body of research demonstrates that restorative action-based practices in schools contribute to safer and more productive learning environments for both staff and students. In 2004, The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales evaluated a large-scale pilot restorative justice project designed to reduce unwanted behaviors (eg. bullying and victimization, poor attendance) and school suspensions. The comparison study utilized surveys and interviews with 5,000 students, 1,150 staff members, and 600 outside participants. Schools that used restorative action reported:
- Fewer students who felt that bullying was a problem in their school, and
- Fewer instances of racist name-calling and bullying, such as hitting, kicking, theft, verbal threats, and skipping class to avoid bullies.
Restorative justice: the evolution of an issue
....It was 2007 when I was first asked about doing an issue on restorative justice by our author, Sandra Pavelka. Although I was potentially interested, two things kept this issue from happening more quickly: First, I felt like the literature surrounding restorative justice needed to have a stronger research-base; and, second, restorative justice was a concept and approach I struggled to fully understand. There are so many types of interventions that fall under the rubric of “restorative justice” that seeing the connections was difficult for me.
Investigating the implementation of restorative justice practices through circle time
This project was undertaken at a Catholic single sex school. The school has a strong emphasis on student wellbeing and is continually looking at ways to improve the various programs offered and strategies employed at the whole school through a preventative approach to student management. Using restorative justice as opposed to retributive justice has grown significantly in schools recently. The values that underpin restorative justice complement very well the underlying values of our school.
The choice to focus on circle time was based on a personal interest fostered by research and something that was achievable within the context of the project. In my current leadership position I am also responsible for reviewing, developing and implementing student wellbeing policies so I found myself in the ideal position to develop and deliver a worthwhile project.
Study: Zero tolerance policies may have negative health implications for students
A new report based on research of three California school districts suggests that school children exposed to so called, “zero tolerance” policies may be taking a toll on their mental health and wellbeing.
Restorative Justice takes on West Oakland schools
From 2005 to 2009, the city of Oakland backed a restorative justice pilot project at Cole Middle School, in West Oakland, which was already slated to be shut down for low test scores. It was among the first attempts to implement restorative justice circles at a U.S. school.
By the final year, standardized test scores had risen by 74 points.
The school, which had suffered from a high turnover of teachers, retained all of its faculty.
And delinquency plummeted; suspensions fell 87 percent and expulsions dropped to zero.
'Restorative justice' school program reduces student delinquency
from the press release announcing the study:
A pilot program to change how teachers and administrators respond to student misbehavior at an Oakland middle school led to a dramatic drop in suspensions and expulsions, according to a new study released today. During a one-year implementation of the alternative “restorative justice” program, suspensions dropped by 87 percent and expulsions dropped to zero.
Hong Kong research demonstrates effectiveness of the restorative whole-school approach
from the paper by Dennis S.W. Wong and T. Wing Lo:
To evaluate the effectiveness of a restorative whole-school approach (RWsA), a pre-post study was undertaken. The sampling frame was based on the school list provided by the education authority. A total of 1480 Secondary 1 (equivalent to aged 12) to Secondary 3 (equivalent to aged 14) students from four different Hong Kong schools participated in the survey between September 2004 and August 2006. Due to practical constraints such as the school curriculum and extra-curricular activities, schools had the autonomy to implement the programmes to different degrees, which were then evaluated by the research team.
Video Review: An Introduction to Restorative Practices at Endeavour High School
by Kate Strong
This video describes the positive results of restorative practices implemented in a school with behavioral and performance problems in England.
Endeavour High School in Hull, England, had a very bad reputation in its community and the larger educational system. In addition, socioeconomic conditions made it difficult for students to participate positively in their school.
The administration decided the best way to address both problems was to institute restorative practices, citing that the traditional ways simply were not working. The community, students, and teachers were skeptical at first. But after eighteen months, the results have been very positive. There is a greater sense of community in the school, the students have learned how to build real relationships with each other, and overall behavior has improved.
Restorative Practices and the Transformation at West Philadelphia High School
West Philadelphia High School has undergone a transformation. It has been on Pennsylvania’s “Persistently Dangerous Schools” list for six years, but the implementation of restorative practices and strong leadership, headed by principal Saliyah Cruz, have made a huge difference. The culture and climate of the school have improved significantly, violent and serious incidents have plummeted, and rates of discipline procedures such as suspensions and expulsions have decreased dramatically.
Improving School Climate: Findings from Schools Implementing Restorative Practices
From the International Institute for Restorative Practices e-Forum: The International Institute for Restorative Practices has compiled a 36-page booklet of findings from schools in the United States, England and Canada that are implementing restorative practices.